Henderson Alvarez's most unusual no-hitter perpetrated against the Tigers hinted at what's a pretty solid future for the 23-year-old right-hander. Armed with a sinking fastball that induces lots of grounders and a deceptive changeup that he hides until late in his delivery, Alvarez could be a reliable mid- to back-rotation guy, or he could be something even more than that. It remains to be seen.
Of course, Alvarez, no-hitter notwithstanding, is just a taste of the young pitching that's presently in or bound for Miami. We all know about Jose Fernandez, the likely NL Rookie of the Year who authored one of the great debut pitching seasons ever and who's already a frontline ace. With all that said, know this and know it in the language of as-seen-on-TV products: But that's not all! To wit ...
•Justin Turner (age 22), acquired from the Tigers last season as part of the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit, has a full repertoire and the "pitchability" to evolve into a useful no. 3 starter at the big-league level.
•Andrew Heaney (age 22) is a three-pitch, college-trained lefty who'll pitch his way to Miami in 2014. His wipeout curve is perhaps one of the best breaking pitches in the minors.
•LHP Justin Nicolino (age 21), like Alvarez, was plucked from the Blue Jays as part of the Jose Reyes-Mark Buehrle-Josh Johnson mega-swap. He's quite rounded-out for an arm drafted out of high school, and his arsenal of three pitches, including a changeup, means he's likely going to stick as a member of the rotation. Improved command of his curve could take him to the next level.
•The 6-foot-7 Brian Flynn (age 23) is, yes, another upside lefty. Like Turner, he came over from the Tigers in the Sanchez-Infante trade. He has the secondary offerings to make it as a starter, but it's his mid-90s fastball, which he keeps low in the zone, that's his calling card. Flynn made his major-league debut earlier this month.
•One more lefty? Why not. Adam Conley (age 23) is a Washington State product who boasts a plus fastball with excellent movement. His changeup and breaking ball still need work, but the rudiments are there. Conley fared quite well this season in his first taste of the high minors.
•Right-hander Jose Urena (age 22) is a starter at present, but he might have the makings of a future closer in Miami. He has a crackling fastball that boasts good velo and jumps around the zone, and his slider, with some refinement, could be a useful power pitch, as well.
•RHP Nathan Eovaldi (age 23) was part of the return package from the Dodgers in exchange for Hanley Ramirez. He has a promising fastball-slider combo, and his changeup is also coming along nicely. The peripherals haven't been all that strong this season, but he did put up a 3.39 ERA across 18 starts for the Marlins.
The Marlins -- again, Alvarez's no-no notwithstanding -- are a bit of an un-funny joke of late, but that's thanks in large part to Jeffrey Loria, their loathsome owner. As for the talent in the pipeline, it's impressive, and that's especially the case with the young pitchers. Alvarez's Sunday appointment with history was but the latest reminder of that.